The Burrow stood still and silent as 'Mione made her way up the path from the Apparation point, a child in her arms and two more lying in her womb. A flood of memories cascaded over her as her eyes swept over the Weasleys’ beloved home. Thoughts of wild family Quidditch matches in the orchard and water fights in the pond beyond filled her heart and mind. A warm breeze blew through the trees, carrying with it a hint of apple blossom. The makeshift goal-rings showed themselves just barely above the treetops, and a family of ducks had noisily taken up residence in the pond.
With a melancholy smile, she gently opened the kitchen door, which squeaked on its rusting hinges. She didn't know what she might find there besides a heavy coating of dust on Molly's otherwise immaculate, but lived-in, home. The Auror-class Revelio spells she’d learned from her double’s memory assured her all was safe. Any curses the Death Eaters had left for her had vanished with Riddle’s death.
As she passed over the threshold, even more memories washed over her. In her mind, she could still hear the pounding of feet as they raced down the stairs on many a first of September to the cadence of Molly's insistent admonishments that they eat quickly so they could make the Hogwarts Express on time.
"Mum, have you seen my jumper?"
"It's not much, but it's home."
Tears filled her eyes. So much had been lost that could never be replaced. So many joyful and exuberant voices had been silenced, leaving her and Ronnie to tell the stories--the only way the newest Weasley twins would ever know their father and his family. They'll know you, Ron. They'll know all of you. I promise. A gentle tug at her sleeve shook her from her thoughts.
"Mummy, why are you crying," Ronnie asked, his sapphire blue eyes wide.
"I'm not really crying, dear," she replied. "I'm just thinking about a long time ago when Daddy and I and Uncle Harry, Aunt Ginny, Uncle George, and Nana and Grandpa Weasley all lived here."
Ronnie cocked his head at his mother, his father’s wry smile covering his face. “And now I live here. Right, Mum?” he asked.
"Yes, dear.” She nodded, a gentle smile of her own crossing her face. Then she kneeled down, to better meet her son’s eyes, as she rested her hands lovingly on his shoulders. “And we're going to make it the wonderful place it used to be, a better place, just for us. I promise," 'Mione told him. And that is a promise that will, at last, be kept. She wiped the tears from her eyes and face and looked around. Everything was just as she remembered it, except for the dust.
With a ghost of a smile, she rose and took her son's hand in hers. Mother and son climbed the rickety old staircase to the top floor where she and Ron and Harry and Ginny spent many an hour talking and laughing. "This was Daddy's old room, Ronnie. And now it's yours."
AN: Updated November 13, 2011. If you liked this tale and are sad it’s over have no fear. A timeline of all the Crusade-related prequels is included below this author’s note and more are on the way!
So many people to thank. First and foremost, I want to thank my wife, for being so patient with me throughout this process. I couldn’t have done this without her. She is my muse, my inspiration and the love of my life. There is more than a little of Mrs. Eldy in my versions of Ginny and Hermione. I’d be lost without her.
Thanks to my betas! I didn’t let them see this note, so the mistakes contained within are all mine.
AvadaKedavra1 was the first to see this tale and offer some excellent critique at a time when I was writing in a vacuum. That was key. He was also the first person to reach out to me when I acquired the fanfic addiction. Thank you my brother!
Siledubhghlase was a true master when it came to writing and I owe her big time. When she passed away in May 2011, the fanfic world lost a great talent and I lost a dear friend. I miss her terribly. That amazingly emotional and wrenching epilogue you just read was her doing.
1917Farmgirl, my adopted little sis, was always there for encouragement, critique and, whether she wants to admit it or not, was the evil genius behind losing George’s broom and turning Fred into an Inferius. Little Sis, you are aces!
Folks if you haven’t read these three authors amazing stories, check my favorites and do so now. You won’t regret it.
Special thanks to Arithmancy_Wiz, Noblevyne and WeasleyTwinMom (aka momotwins) for checking my ToS compliance. In fact, Arithmancy_Wiz has been kind enough to suffer my “ToS paranoia” and check this tale numerous times, and WeasleyTwinMom was kind enough to check the “Bumping” Rule for me, which allowed me to safely separate this Epilogue from the final chapter; this is an edit I’ve been wanting to complete for ages. After that, it was only a matter of editing it a bit to make sure the text of the Epilogue itself topped 500 words. (It does, just barely, at 519). Thank you all so much for ensuring I keep my TA status!
And thanks to JKR. I don't own Harry Potter. The toys belong to her, she just lets us play with them! *The three quotes used are roughly hewn/paraphrased from JKR's Chamber of Secrets, both the film (Warner Bros., 2002 - Steve Kolves and JKR -screenplay) and the book (Scholastic Press, 1999).
Another shout out! Is owed to my wonderful friends who nominated this tale for the Story Seekers: Princesspadfoot and 1917farmgirl. A HUGE thanks is owed to LovlyRita (my hero) for that amazing podcast in StorySeekers8, as well as her on-air crew that day: lillyandjamesfan, keroberros and, of course, PrincessPadfoot. I would NEVER have won a Dobby if it wasn’t for StorySeekers.
Which leads to the next batch of much-deserved thank-yous to all the folks that nominated this tale for a Dobby: Melian (Oh Captain, My Captain!), PrincessPadfoot (she’s like a stalker, ain’t she?) , Farmgirl (sis, you rock!) and the irrepressible WriteYourHeartOut. Winning that Dobby was truly amazing and I owe you all (and everyone who voted for Crusade!) quite a lot.
And to my wonderful reviewers, blueirony, Karkaroff, Manwe Valarian, Sirius Black Dog, You Know Who, Ginny Yeske, Ron Weasley is My Hero (btw, he’s mine too!), Estelle Black, Alopex, pinks, felix the great, Laugharama Llama, Weasleyismyking17, Aurorofthelight,1OldHPFan, Chocolab, lily flower, Ilisten2potterwatch,Basilisk27, Mintleaf, TallestTower, whisky, Mini Moony, MrsKatieGrint, Jackson Robles, Marissa, emma, Psyber 014, Ronsgirl29, baldurpotter, Miss Lily Potter, Chuckelangel, ShePotter, Ninja Potter, Sammy J, Harryfan100, bea, edward ollivander, Pacific Wizard (amazing reviews mate!), Sabya Sachi, mrsyaya, Pixileanin (You rock!) CapellaBlack, MafadaPrewett, white eyebrow, laine,lauraf68 , and the amazing TheDirigiblePlumb and the brilliant Ronsgirlfriday. I can’t thank you all enough for the wonderful reviews. And, LilyGreenEyes, who supported me throughout “Clocks” as well. She’s the best.
Thank you to Sting (A/K/A Gordon Sumner) for obvious reasons, if you’ve been reading the notes and my review responses and, especially if you’ve read “Only Gordon Can Save Us Now.”
And, finally, thank you to Alberta Cross. If you haven’t cried reading these last two chapters, you will if you re-read them, while listening to “Old Man Chicago.”
Thanks again for reading. It’s so hard to perform without an audience. And if you leave a review, rest assured I’ll respond promptly.
Now, as to what’s next, I’ve been contemplating what may be the final Crusadiverse tale. I hope to begin writing it in the Winter of 2011-2012.
On a personal note, I can’t help but feel a little like Dr. Sam Beckett, “setting right what once went wrong.” If any of you see Tuesday Christine, Lupi Erminea, datbenik513, RonMione4ever or any of the other readers that I haven’t heard from who shouted “NO!” at the end of “Stop All The Clocks,” please, let them know ‘Mione’s well, and she’s found a home.
Crusadiverse Timeline of Posted Tales:
1996 - Fall - "More Skill Than Luck"- one shot - posted as Chapter 87 of "Phoenix in the Ashes," a site-wide collaboration. It's in my favorites.
1998 – July – “Hermione’s Wand” – one shot - posted as Chapter 1 of "Tales from the Crusadiverse."
1999- August – “Journey of a Thousand Miles” – one shot - posted as Chapter 1 of "The Staffer's Choice Awards," a Prefect's Collaboration. It's in my favorites.
2000 – August – “The Battle of the Pitch” (main story line) – short story – posted.
2000 – November – “The Adventures of Reckless Git and Danger Ponce” – short story – posted as Chapters 2-4 of "Tales from the Crusadiverse."
2002 – Spring – "Best Laid Plans," -one shot -posted.
2002 – Spring - “The Proposal” – short story – posted.
2002 – Early Summer – “The Tipping Point” – short story - posted as Chapters 5-7 of "Tales from the Crusadiverse."
2002 – Summer – “Children’s Crusade”- novel – sequel to “Stop All The Clocks” – posted.
2003 – December – “The Gift”- one shot - posted as Chapter 30 of "The Final Battle," site-wide collaboration. It's in my favorites…
2004 – May – “The Battle of the Pitch” (introductory story line) – posted.